RABAT, 19 February 2021 – Tensions are high between Morocco and neighboring Algeria after an Algerian television channel Echourok News mocked the King of Morocco.
The program depicted Morocco’s King Mohamed VI as a puppet in a program broadcast last February 12.
Many Moroccan politicians have expressed outrage following the broadcast by Echourouk News, seen as very close to the Algerian military and, by extension, to the Algerian government.
The “Weekend story” program featured presenter Bilal Kebache questioning King Mohamed VI, depicted as a puppet, to explain Morocco’s normalization of relations with Israel.
The presenter also questioned the puppet king about former U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.
The presenter implied that the Biden administration may reconsider this recognition, said, “Trump is gone, and the (recognition) tweet disappeared with the dissolution of the ex-president’s Twitter account. What’s the point of all this”?
To which the puppet replies with a sigh: “I, after Donald Trump’s tweet, have won nothing, I have not won the Sahara, nor the consent of the Moroccan people, nor my tranquility as a king”.
The program has sparked anger throughout Morocco, both in the political sphere and on social media.
Algeria has refused to normalize relations with Israel.
For several decades, Algeria and Mauritania have supported pro-independence campaigners of the Polisario Front in the Western Sahara.
Both countries voted within the African Union to recognize the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a sovereign African nation.
After several weeks of blockade led by the Polisario at the El Guerguerate crossing point, the Moroccan army intervened militarily to dislodge the blockades.
Polisario called the action an act of war, calling off the 1991 ceasefire between the SADR and Morocco, and reportedly launching attacks against Moroccan forces in Western Sahara.
Algerian media, including Echourouk News, has been seen from Rabat as supporting Polisario by reporting the fighting on their network with a bias for Western Sahara.